Baby Monitor Lawsuit

Summer Infant Recalls Baby Monitors After 2 Deaths

Summer Infant has voluntarily recalled over 2 million baby monitors following reports of death of two infants caused by strangulation by electrical cords. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Summer Inc issued a joint statement announcing the recall of over 2 million baby monitors, warning that placing the monitors too close to the cribs expose babies to the danger of strangulation.

The Rhode Island-based company is recalling 40 models of digital and color monitors along with handheld devices. Located in Woonsocket, Summer Infant is not offering replacement for the products; however, it plans to offer new safety labeling, warning, and instructions on the monitors distributed since January 2003. The company wants to ensure that parents are aware of the risks involved in keeping the monitors close to the cribs.

The baby monitors sold between 2003 and 2011 for a price ranging from $60 to $300 at mass merchandisers, retail outlets, and baby specialty stores are under question. Earlier, last October, the commission warned about the danger of placing cribs too close to the monitors. However, no stern step, like recall, was taken in this regard.


Similar Cases

Since 2004, seven infant deaths have been recorded due to strangulation by electrical cords placed too close to their crib.

In March, death of a 10-month-old girl Savannah Pereir due to strangulation by the camera cord was reported in Washington. It was realized that the camera was placed atop the crib rail. Savannah incidentally reached the camera and was strangled by the cord, thus her life was cut short.

In November, a 6-month-old boy, too, died as a result of strangulation by the monitor’s electrical cord kept on the crib-attached changing table in Conway. His parents had bought the monitor as a safety precaution but had to lose him because of the negligence on the part of the company, which failed to warn parents or guardians about the possible hazards associated with their equipment.

In another incident, a 20-month-old boy from Pittsburgh was nearly strangled by a Summer Infant monitor camera cord, which was mounted to the wall well within the reach of the child. He was found struggling with the cord around his neck and could be saved. Fortunately, the child was saved, but not all of the above kids were as lucky as this one.


Other Tragic Incidents Involving Summer Infant Monitors

Summer Infant has also ordered recall of rechargeable batteries in 58,000 video monitors having “Summer" logo on their front for the fear of burning associated with them. It is feared that these monitors, labeled Slim and Secure Video Monitors, can overheat and burn because of their rechargeable batteries, which can overheat and rupture, thus posing immense threat to the child or anybody nearby.

These monitors are sold in either silver and white combination or pink and white one. The Slim and Secure products were sold for about $200 at Babies "R" Us for a short period, from September 2009 to May 2010.

The company has received five reports of ruptured batteries. According to the federal consumer commission, of the five battery explosion incidents, three resulted in minor property damage, though no kind of injury to anyone was reported.

The company has issued a warning to all those using this specific monitor to stop using it immediately. Now after so many tragic incidents, Summer Infant is offering a replacement on these monitors, requesting those using the monitor to contact the company for a postage-paid envelope to return the faulty battery and get a replacement.

The baby monitors, otherwise known to help parents monitor their child in cribs have turned out to be strangulation hazards for their kids. There have been nonfatal injuries involving kids entangled by monitor cords, but fortunately, they escaped death or serious injury because somebody was nearby to release them from the cords and save their lives. But not all kids are as lucky.

Kids have a tendency to reach for the cords mounted to their cribs or other furniture, but they cannot extricate themselves if strangled by the cords. This is a crude fact about which the company manufacturing these monitors should warn parents and guardians.

What the CPSC Says

After so many tragic incidents, the Consumer Product Safety Commission seems to have woken up from its slumber. Now it is suggesting parents and guardians of infants to ensure that there is at least a 3-feet distance between the cords and kids as a safety measure so that they are out of reach of the children.

The CPSC has issued a warning against using corded monitors, but this type of defective equipment should have been recalled earlier. Summer Infant’s recall of these strangulation hazards came only after the death of six kids.

The CPSC recommends using monitors with cordless transmitters. But then several incidents have been reported where both wired and wireless baby monitors have caught fire, turning into burning hazards.  The responsibility lies with the companies that manufacture such defective pieces. 

They must realize that they are responsible for ensuring that their products are used efficiently. It is a grave mistake on the part of these manufacturing firms not to label warnings associated with their products before injecting them into the markets.

The CPSC is equally guilty in these incidents for its failure to detect the problem of wired and wireless monitors before permitting the manufacturers to flood the markets with these products.

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